September 2021 in Summary: Monochrome

Donkey Kong Land - Ship

2020 was a pretty lousy year, but if it’s thing I did like about it, it’s that, because I was working from home, I didn’t have to deal with the annual cold season. And then I ended up working in an office these past few months and was reminded of how much I did not miss getting a cold when I got a particularly persistent one a few weeks ago. I’m over it now, fortunately.

Films watched in September 2021:

In theaters:

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021)

At home:

  • Silverado (Lawrence Kasdan, 1985)
  • Key Largo (John Huston, 1948)
  • King of the Hill (Steven Soderberg, 1993)
  • Bullitt (Peter Yates, 1968)

I began this month by seeing Silverado, which is considered a reconstruction of the Western genre. That is to say, it’s a pretty straightforward example, but it bears in mind the criticism proposed by deconstructive work – particularly from the New Hollywood era. In that regard, it certainly is an enjoyable film – if a tad bit predictable at times.

Ever wanted to see a film noir set in the tropics? The late, great John Huston has you covered. Yes, Key Largo is a postwar film noir starring Humphrey Bogart that happens to take place in the Florida Keys during monsoon season. The results are quite interesting, starting off with the classic setup of “let’s get a cast of colorful characters in an enclosed environment” before reaching its suspenseful conclusion. Definitely worth a watch.

And then it finally happened. For the first time since February of 2020, I actually saw a film in theaters (for reference, the last one I saw was Portrait of a Lady on Fire). Yes, I saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the latest MCU film. The series (and Marvel in general) has always done a great job blending genres, so it would seem only natural that we would get a wuxia film out of the deal. And I can safely say this film was highly enjoyable. Definitely should be enough to tide over any fan.

Yes, there was a King of the Hill movie, although it has nothing to do with the excellent (and slightly underrated) animated series. Instead, this is the sophomore effort of the great Steven Soderberg. Not terribly surprising he’d get to direct a Hollywood film after winning the Palme d’Or with his first feature. It’s an adaptation of the memoirs of writer A. E. Hotchner, a man from Missouri who grew up during the Great Depression. This film really captures just how difficult it was to grow up in the era, and it’s absolutely worth your time.

And finally, at the end of the month, I saw the classic Peter Yates film Bullitt. All I knew going into the film is that its car chase is the stuff of legends, and yeah, it did not disappoint. It has a perfect blend of noir and action elements guaranteed to satisfy film buffs.

Games reviewed in September 2021:

Donkey Kong Land - Kremlantis

Donkey Kong Land

Ooh boy, I’m really glad I decided to replay Donkey Kong Land before reviewing it because I did not remember the controls being that bad. It’s a shame because it honestly could have been, at the very least, an honorable mention had its most annoyingly persistent issues been properly addressed. At the risk of getting slightly ahead of myself, I will say it’s the only game in this Game Boy trilogy to attempt to be anything other than just a watered-down version of its SNES counterpart and its soundtrack is incredibly good (even the tracks imported from Donkey Kong Country sound amazing in their Game Boy renditions), so if nothing else, I can say it’s the most ambitious of the three games. Whether or not you will find it worthwhile to suffer through the bad controls to appreciate this ambition, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.

Donkey Kong Land 2 - Level 1

Donkey Kong Land 2

Donkey Kong Land 2 is quite the confusing product because Rare had demonstrated a willingness to come up with entirely new challenges with Donkey Kong Land, yet completely phoned this game in. It creates a strange disconnect in how Donkey Kong Land 2 is a technically superior game, yet walks away with a failing grade. At the end of the day, it’s better to favor the teams with some kind of creative vision over the ones with no ideas to speak of. It’s hardly the worst game out there, but there simply is no objective reason why you should ever play it when its SNES counterpart blows it out of the water without breaking a sweat.

Featured articles:

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Press “Up” Again and Again: The Interesting Impressions of The Last Story – Athena from AmbiGaming takes a look at The Last Story, a game released in the final days of the Wii lifecycle that came dangerously close to not being localized.

Politics in art and the value of escapism – I do kind of get where the whole “all art is political” sentiment is coming from because you can’t create art in a vacuum, but it’s not really a good sign if journalists are solely consuming art to have their viewpoints validated. AK has his own take on the subject here.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Justice for All – Matt from Nintendo bound has taken the plunge into the Ace Attorney series lately, and has reviewed the second game in the series, Justice for All.

Chernobyl and Pripyat: Visiting Ukraine’s Exclusion Zone – This September, Mr. Wapojif visited the Exclusion Zone in Ukraine. Like Pompeii before it, a disaster ended up creating a real-life snapshot of a city in that particular moment and time, and hearing about his trip was fascinating.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review – Scott of the Wizard Dojo also saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and pitched his two cents about the film himself.

Opinion: Sony’s Pricing Model is Dumb – So, Sony is apparently charging players $10 to play PS4 games on the PS5. As Frostilyte says, this is something I would’ve expected from EA than Sony. I mean, if they wanted money, maybe they should just commission the creation of better games? Just a thought. It’s not our fault they refuse to get good.

If Left is Wrong I Don’t Want to be Right. The Left-Handers of Video Games, Part IV! – And finally, Aether chronicles more left-handed characters.

Links to my articles:

Game reviews:

11 thoughts on “September 2021 in Summary: Monochrome

  1. Glad you liked my feedback on Chernobyl. Your blog is always a delight, too!

    Also, I played the DKC games on the Game Boy and vaguely remember them. DKC 2 on the Game Boy… the joy of the SNES version. All lost to selling out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! It was interesting hearing an account from someone who saw the place in person.

      And yeah, the Donkey Kong Land games are not good. The first Donkey Kong Land deserves credit for not simply riding off the coattails of Donkey Kong Country, but Donkey Kong Land 2 was a rather blatant case of selling out, which was rather uncharacteristic of Rare at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the link! This was a post that was a long time coming, really. Too much bullshit I’d heard that I had to deal with, but hopefully in a way that was nuanced and considerate enough.

    I need to watch Bullitt one day. I’ve only ever seen Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, and he was excellent in that (the whole cast really was) and I’m positive I’d like this as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! And while I do think those people are trying their best to combat real problems, their methods are rather misguided.

      And I don’t think you can go wrong with Bullitt. That car chase is the stuff of legends.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True, I understand the concern at least. And as we’ve talked about, they’re absolutely more sympathetic than the extreme types on the other side, who have no redeeming qualities at all.

        Yeah, one of the most famous car chases, right? Up there with The French Connection.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I haven’t actually played any of those games, but I did play Wildlands last year. It was honestly pretty good, though I get why critics were lukewarm about it, as it’s not exactly a forward-looking game.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not even a movie fan, but getting to watch films in theatres is something else. It’s been nicer in covid times, because at least in my local smallish town cinema, most of the time showings are very sparsely populated. I’ve even been the only person there for one movie. I don’t really dislike other people being around, but being able to enjoy it on my own terms while within the big screen theatre gives me the best of both worlds.

    Of course, the local theatre also serves beer, so that might help the viewing experience somewhat as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely. Seeing films in theaters is a nice experience, although my personal stance is that if your movie is only good if seen in theaters, you’re doing something wrong. Still, the social aspect is nice, plus, personally, I find it easier to get through a film when I can’t pause it at any point.

      That reminds me of how I got to see Good Time in an otherwise empty theater. It’s nice getting a private screening every now and again, I’d say.

      Liked by 1 person

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